EDITOR’S NOTE: This is our first of 12 “look backs” at the year that was, and currently still is, if only for a few more days.
A Look Back At The Month Named After Your Mom
Jan. 1: A crowd of several thousand stand the streets in and around Carytown, where they mingle, dance and hope to be one of the 1,400 to get into the Byrd Theatre for the midnight viewing of “Bee Movie.”
Jan. 6: Central Virginia McDonald’s restaurants are named the testing ground for a new product from McDonald’s: The McFemur, a sandwich that contains a special barbecue sauce, onions and pickles atop a piece of pork meat in the actual size and shape of a cow’s thigh bone. The $2.29 McFemur, which measured two inches high and three feet long, was pulled from the menu within the first week of trials.
Jan. 7: Bogart’s, the popular Fan restaurant, announces that it is closing. The famed “backroom” was known for its jazz music, delicious cheeseburgers and ability for most anyone to look unbelievably sexy while smoking a cigarette, kinda like a scene out of Casablanca.
Jan. 8: Jacksonville, Fla. resident Shawn Hastings moves to Richmond, and, on his first night out on the town, expresses confusion as to why he is unable to attract a single woman at his favorite neighborhood hangout, Babe’s of Carytown.
Jan. 10: Velvet, the downtown gentleman’s club, removes the Ed Trask mural of Princess Diana from its north-facing wall. Its owner said the move was a way for Velvet to tone down the attention it draws to itself, as is parking two jacked-up Hummers out front and shining searchlights from the roof every night.
Jan. 11: A new trolley service is announced for the Richmond area, made to haul residents from Shockoe Bottom to Short Pump and as far away as the Neighborhood of Make-Believe. The service had long been in demand by Richmonders for morning and evening commutes and to help them learn various lessons, such as how Prince Tuesday deals with feelings of anger in positive ways.
Jan. 11: Explaining that it was “plumb out” of all-white 1980s Etonic tennis shoes and Virginia Tech Big East sweatshirts, Henrico County-based A&N Stores announced that it would close all two of its locations by the end of the year.
Jan 13:Virginia Commonwealth University completes the largest construction project in its history, the business and engineering school. The project pushed VCU over the Belvidere Street threshold, and brought the school one step closer toward its goal of fully consuming the entirety of the capital city’s 62 square miles.
Jan. 14: The Richmond Braves announce they will move to Gwinnett, Ga. after years of unsuccessful negotiations on a ballpark deal. While a majority of Richmond’s 1.2 million citizens are saddened by this news, the move affected roughly 100 local residents who regularly attended home games.
Jan. 15: Cloverleaf Mall, also known as “The Other Mall that you never go to,” says it will close in February to make way for homes and businesses. The Other Mall is, of course, one of three Other Malls in the area that no one ever bothers to patronize anymore since two Regular Malls opened in 2003.
Jan. 21: The Martin Agency was bestowed its 942nd honor of 2008, ranked No. 3 in the country by Advertising Age. Trade publications consistently rank Martin as one of the best agencies in America, along with such distinctions as having the second-most comfortable sofa in a U.S. lobby; No. 4 most hottest graphic designers in the nation; and the third most-bounciest ping-pong balls on a table tennis set located in the northern hemisphere.
Jan. 22: Heath Ledger dies on the same day we honor him as one of the nation’s top mancrushes.
Jan. 23: A local runner dies trying to navigate the Oregon Hill Trail, nearly drowning in the James River before succumbing to dysentery. Police said the 37-year-old banker decided he would be fine on the trail with only one pair of socks, a fully-charged iPod, a “handful” of spare wagon parts and three yoke of oxen.
Jan. 24: After a heavy freeze in the Richmond area, the National Weather Service is accused of racial profiling by the NAACP after meteorologists referred to the accident-causing suspect as “black ice.”
Jan. 24: Apple releases the MacBook Air, and, inspired by the innovation and technological advances of the razor-thin notebook computer, Richmond’s Philip Morris USA introduces the Marlboro Air, a tightly-rolled cigarette as thin as a business card.
Jan. 25: More than 1,770 “athletes” gather to “compete” in the 2008 Eastern Synchronized Team Skating Sectional “Championships” at the Richmond Coliseum. The “sport,” which is “played” by the “teams” on ice, requires the “professional” skaters to “beat” their “opponents” by gliding to the music with precision and “skill.”
Jan. 28: In his final major speech as lead janitor of St. Mary’s Hospital in Richmond, Herman Kimball tells fellow employees that, during his eight years on the job, he was determined to bring an end to extremist non-flushers in the second floor men’s bathroom and restore the paper towel rolls in the coming year with a firm resolve.
Jan. 29: Richmond International Airport says it will make good on the “International” in its name, by offering flights to a desolate territory just north of the U.S. border. The airport says this new destination, which appears to be a sovereign state, is known only for Molson beer, an ample amount of comedians and, additionally, Labatt Blue beer.
Jan. 29: Citing the need to end the monopoly the Fan restaurant had on regional consumption of slow-roasted pork and various forms of paella, Mayor L. Douglas Wilder imposes an embargo on all commerce and trade activities with Kuba Kuba. The blockade prohibited visitation to Kuba Kuba by way of Richmond, and made conducting business with or at the location illegal.
Jan. 30: A 20-year-old Henrico County entrepreneur – who for months had been trying to start up a PVC pipe and fertilizer sales company – was forced into bankruptcy by Henrico County police. Officials said said the young man had been running the business out of his bedroom in a house off South Moorefield Road, marketing his firm by leaving product samples in neighbor’s mailboxes.
Jan. 31: The city of Richmond sends a letter to radio station managers that it is “getting pretty annoyed” with having to hear 98.9 Liberty brag during every commercial break that it “plays anything.”